West Midlands mayor Andy Street has confirmed that £200 million from the UK government’s new ‘Transporting Cities Fund’ will be used to extend the Midland Metro to Brierley Hill.
Launched by Theresa May in Birmingham, the new £1.7 billion fund is part of the government’s industrial strategy and aims to improve productivity and create higher-paying jobs across the country.
It will address weaknesses in city transport systems by funding new local transport links to make it easier to travel between often more prosperous city centres and struggling suburbs.
In total £250 million has been given to the West Midlands, meaning the long-awaited metro extension from Wednesbury through Dudley and to Brierley Hill will go ahead.
This 11km extension will link both towns to the rail network for the first time since the 1960s. It will largely run on an existing but disused heavy rail corridor.
Once it is operational, passengers will be able to travel from Dudley to the HS2 station at Curzon Street in 40 minutes.
Following the announcement, Andy Street said that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will now begin looking at the next projects it wants to fund. This includes metro extensions to Eastside, to connect with the HS2 station at Curzon, and the reopening of the Camp Hill line.
WMCA’s transport lead Roger Lawrence said: “Once complete, this extension will provide huge regeneration opportunities and put hundreds of thousands of people within easy reach of HS2 and all the economic opportunities that brings.
“It will align employment, education, health and tourism plans along the route, stimulating investment in the Black Country and creating thousands of jobs and new homes.
“It will also more than halve journey times from some of the stops along the route into central Birmingham.
“Extensions to the Metro are a cornerstone of our goal of ensuring this region has the right transport links in place for the arrival of HS2 in 2026.”